The season of spring not only wakes up hibernating animals from their slumber, but hibernating athletes as well. The rise in temperature brings out more people being physically active outdoors. This is a wonderful thing, but please take this word of advice: Although your mind may feel that your body is as fit as it was in its “Heyday”, it may not be. If you haven’t been consistent with your training, the reality is that your muscles atrophy (shrink) and your flexibility reduces. The same thing applies to your cardio. Your heart is a muscle and if you don’t do endurance training regularly, your ability to exercise for longer periods of time will reduce.
In a nutshell, take the following steps so that your Spring enthusiasm doesn’t lead you to injury:
- Be realistic with your goals. If you ran 10K regularly in November, you may not be able to do that today. Find a training book that will give you a program to gradually increase your mileage safely.
- Mind your posture. Your back, abdominals and gluts stabilize your spine and pelvis and maintain proper alignment in any activity. If these muscles are not well conditioned, you can develop injuries such as low back pain, I-T band syndrome, etc.
- Cross Train. Your body adapts to the stimuli that you give it. If you sit most of the year, your body has adapted to this and will not be able to handle a new burst of activity. Engage in full body resistance training, dance, pilates/yoga and cardio to give yourself a strong and leaner body.
- Get new shoes. Those kicks from the ’80s are not going to cut it. Find a good shoe that provides cushioning and support and that is SPORT SPECIFIC to your activity.
- Enjoy! Don’t be too hard on yourself if your body doesn’t seem to be as strong as it was before. Realize that the body adapts and will improve with consistent training. Enjoy the wind and sun on your face as you play outdoors! Re-awaken your senses.